Transforming Roles: Canadian Academic Librarians Embedded in Faculty Research Projects

Shailoo Bedi, Christine Walde
2017 College and Research Libraries  
Academic librarians have always played an important role in providing research services and research-skills development to faculty in higher education. But that role is evolving to include the academic librarian as a unique and necessary research partner, practitioner, and participant in collaborative, grant-funded research projects. This article describes how a selected sample of Canadian academic librarians became embedded in faculty research projects and describes their experiences of
more » ... periences of participating in research teams. Conducted as a series of semistructured interviews, this qualitative study illustrates the emerging opportunities and challenges of the librarian-researcher role and how it is transforming the Canadian university library. Introduction and Purpose of Study With the advent of new technologies and the importance of new knowledge economies within higher education, the role of the academic librarian is changing. As collections become increasingly patron-driven, and libraries share evolving service models, traditional duties such as cataloguing, reference, and collection development are not necessarily core duties of all academic librarians. 1 As a result of this shift, librarians have been gaining-and demonstrating-increased value within higher education as it relates to the life cycle of research, learning, and teaching. Clearly, competition is increasing within higher education, and individual institutions throughout Canada and the United States strive to distinguish themselves through their research and innovation. 2 To demonstrate measurable return on investment, faculty researchers are striving to diversify their research teams to gain increased success in grant competitions and remain current in their field of research. Increasingly, Canadian academic librarians are recognizing the changes in the landscape and the opportunities available to them to become embedded in grant-funded faculty research teams. As academic librarians, we were inspired by a desire to contribute to a larger discussion around trends in research in Canadian academic librarianship through an exploratory study that examines the experience and learning of Canadian academic librarians who were embedded in faculty research and to show how these experiences
doi:10.5860/crl.78.3.314 fatcat:z5d2cljlmnhgxaocnaenziorju